Spoon and Pencil Balancing Tricks

You might not think that a juggler could wow an audience with a small, everyday object such as a spoon or pencil, but you would be wrong. A number of well-known jugglers have done exactly that with a common household spoon, kicking up, balancing, and flipping it in amazing ways. These types of tricks actually have an old historical predecessor. In the mid-1700s, a British performer named Mattocks performed tricks with a piece of straw. He would kick a piece of straw into the air with his foot and catch it on his chin, forehead, or nose. His fame from these tricks was enough that a popular song, called Balance a Straw, was written in his honor.

The first juggler known to have done such tricks with a spoon was German juggling icon Rudy Horn, who passed away in 2018. Rudy started performing his spoon routine in 1949 at the age of 16. The following video shows Rudy’s skill with a spoon.

Another juggler who did the same tricks as Rudy Horn is Pepito Alvarez. Pepito added the variation of walking through the audience while balancing the spoon.

The first half of the following video features Pepito’s work with a spoon.

Alberto Sforzi was so well-known for performing with a spoon that the documentary of his life was titled “Spoon Balancing.” You can see his spoon work below.

The spoon kick up was also performed by French juggler Gerard Dann, as you can see in the following photos. Dann performed from the late 1950s to the early 2000s.

Gerard Dann’s son Jaz Danion now performs the spoon kick up as part of his wonderful act.

Between Gerard Dann and his son Jaz Danion, the premier spoon balancing juggler was German juggler Oliver Groszer, who made his debut in 1989.

A pair of current jugglers have taken on the challenge of learning the spoon kick up. Olivier Caignart of France showed his journey in the following video.

British juggler Matthew Tiffany also documented his progress with learning the kick up in a video.

Similar, and even more incredible tricks, have been done by Chris Hodge using a pencil. Check out his many pencil balancing variations in the following video.

As you can see, an entire circus or theater audience can be entertained and amazed with the smallest of common objects.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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